Monday, March 21, 2016

Another Week in Bristol

Knock knock!
Who's there?
The Mormons!
*a pause, some shuffling, the TV cuts off, then silence*

Hey folks!

This week was super quick. I can't believe it's already Monday again. Although sadly it wasn't quick because it was busy. We had a lot of appointments lined up that fell through, which was unfortunate. But we had some good experiences so it wasn't all bad. We had a really good discussion in ward council on how to improve ward council. We had another good appointment with Anna. She is crazy close to accepting the gospel but she's still just not ready yet. She also had us over to her church again on Friday for another dinner service (they've been having Friday dinner services for lent for the last few weeks apparently) and we made chocolate hazelnut bars at her house for it (thanks for the recipe, Mom!).

We also had an appointment with a couple of old investigators named Travis and Katie. Well, they're actually a fairly young couple, but they're long-time investigators. They're close friends with some of the members and they've investigated off and on for awhile. We and their member friends are pretty sure that Katie will get baptized if Travis ever does. His main concern seems to be with the priesthood. They've got a 3 year old boy and they just had another baby within the last few months, so we're going to emphasize eternal families. We think this might finally be the right time for them. And they're really awesome. They have a lot of real intent. They both want to know if it's true. Travis was saying he just hasn't gotten an answer yet for some reason. We'll focus on helping them find answers to their prayers too. They could sure use your prayers.

We are being blessed with some opportunities to work with new people. Remember that family I mentioned? The one wit the grandma Charlotte we gave a blessing to in the hospital, and the grandson Skyler we got in the door with, and the grandson Tanner's girlfriend Kelly we also gave a blessing to? Well, Charlotte's brother just passed away this week. And as a result, at least one of his less active daughters and her non member fiancée are wanting to come back to church and meet with us to take the discussions. It's neat to see God working in their lives. They are going through such a hard time, but at the same time so many blessings are coming throughout all the hard stuff.

We could use your prayers too, for help finding new investigators and for some guidance on how to help the investigators we have, and so that we can actually meet with them (Jon cancelled every appointment we had with him this week because of his dying mother in law keeping them awake all night. We have to be patient, but it can be frustrating).

I'm short on time, as usual, but I'd like to leave a brief challenge. Take some time to prayerfully examine your Sabbath day observance. It is a "sign" between you and the Lord (as Elder Oaks put it) of your desire to obediently serve Him and consecrate your life to Him and of your gratitude for all He has given you. Do you need to make some changes? Make them!

We've been watching training videos in Ward Council from the Brethren on Sabbath day observance. Here are a few quotes I wrote down.

Our Sabbath observance is a sign between us and God. Personal preparation for the sacrament begins long before you walk into the chapel.

"Every week we have access to the powers of Godliness that help us in our ongoing process of sanctification." -David A Bednar

Sabbath day observance should not be regimented by leaders but should be decided by individuals in council with the Lord and by families in family councils (also with the Lord).

"As we humbly seek the Lord's help He can help us progress from good to better to best" -Linda K Burton

"As we keep this one commandment it will increase our capacity to keep all the others." -Russell M Nelson

"The particulars of exactly how each of us tries to keep the higher law don't matter [as much as] that we are truly and sincerely trying to keep the higher law, and as we do that He will enable us... As we do that our homes will become [a] refuge... -one of the members of our ward council

And finally, one from an email from our mission president about self discipline:

"I’m not asking you to turn over a new leaf today, or commit to a new program. This is merely an invitation to live life as Christ intended, which includes difficult choices, some hard work and increasing capacity to enjoy all the goodness the Savior offers those who come unto Him. Choose to worship, serve and love the Lord this day."

I love you all! Thank you for your prayers and support. The Gospel's true! Make yourselves a great week!

Elder Alex Swindler


1-2) The new district, from left to right: Elder Hill (who is actually not in the district but was on exchanges in place of Elder Nelson), Elder Dyment (district leader), Elder Baird, Elder Collins, me, Elder Lambert, Sister Crawford, and Sister Johnson.

3) One of the members we do service for on Fridays is building a geodesic greenhouse in their backyard.

4) I got a new haircut! (I know it looks just like the old one, shhh...)

5-6) Elder Lambert and I pranked the other Elders last week with the fake poop my mom sent me. Elder Baird was FREAKING OUT. He was like "how does anyone even poop like that?!? You'd have to like grab your ankles and have, like, explosive diarrhea!!!" To top it off, even after chipping off the "poop" with a q tip as it started to peel off, they STILL haven't sat on it since. They're too grossed out. This was last Monday. :D


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